About this Research Topic
A microbial cell is an efficient bioreactor for synthesis of diverse types of nanoparticles. Microbe assisted synthesis of nanoparticles could provide a green, environmentally benign, rapid and efficient route for fabrication of biocompatible nanostructures with exotic physical-chemical and optoelectronic properties. Thus, understanding the underlying cellular mechanism is crucial for designing a tailor-made, well optimized process for synthesis of nanostructures with the desired size, shape and properties. Microbes of various environmental niches interact with minerals and heavy metals often, which has enabled them to develop unique cellular, physiological, biochemical and molecular adaptations by which they can trap, internalize, alter and precipitate in the form of nanostructures.
Thermophiles, psychrophiles, acidophiles, halophiles and barophiles are currently being explored for their nanobiotechnological applications and genetically modified for the rational alteration of their metabolic processes in order to design novel bioprocesses for synthesis of nanoparticles. Microbes living in the areas with high levels of metal contamination have gained metal tolerance which can lead to the conversion of toxic metals into nontoxic forms. Similarly, rhizosphere associated microbes exhibit antagonism with pathogenic microbes owing to their ability to synthesize bioactive nanoparticles. Similarly, they can even chelate metals in the form of nanoparticles, thus making it unavailable to the pathogenic microbes. Such interactions definitely help the host or the crop plants and help in the luxurious growth and higher yield. Similarly, microbes growing in industrial effluents and mining discharges can recover metals from the environment and can convert them into exotic nanostructures. Likewise, marine microbes living under close proximity to high salt and mineral concentrations can effectively internalize diverse types of minerals and convert them into nanostructures that can be exploited for various applications. Although nanoparticles can be synthesized by both chemical as well as physical routes, the use of corrosive, hazardous and toxic chemicals poses a potent threat to the environment. Thus microbes are most preferred resources for synthesizing nanoparticles with attractive features.
Nanoparticles have a larger surface area and therefore can be used as attractive drug delivery vehicles. Various bioactive principles, drug molecules and targeting ligands are functionalized on the surface of nanoparticles for a sustained and triggered release of drugs at target tissues. Thus this approach not only prevents nonspecific drug accumulation but also a reduction in amount of drugs which is important in the struggle to combat drug resistance.
Magnetic nanoparticles show hyperthermia, magnetic field oriented targeting and also imaging properties which can be exploited for simultaneous diagnosis, drug delivery and the monitoring of drug release and distribution. Antibodies, integrins, siRNA, miRNA, DNA and flurophores are also functionalized for targeted gene delivery and gene therapy. Such processes are extremely useful for strain improvement in industrial microbiology, molecular diagnostics, agriculture and vaccine development. Exploring microbial cell derived nanomaterials for the above mentioned environmental and therapeutic applications would thus help in better understanding the critical role of microbes for development of nanomedicine.
Recent advancements in material science, chemistry, metabolomics, metagenomics and computational biology paved the way for the multidisciplinary study of the identification of specific pathways responsible for microbial synthesis of advanced biomaterials. Similarly, high throughput screening, process optimization and mathematical modelling could provide insight into how complex microbial communities use their metabolic machinery to use natural resources for the fabrication of nanomaterials of industrial and medicinal utility.
In this Research Topic, we would like to highlight recent advances in the overall microbial bioprocesses for the synthesis of various types of nanoparticles for environmental bioremediation, development of green synthesis routes, alteration of bioavailability and toxicity of metals, and therapeutic applications. We welcome contributions in the form of reviews and original research on topics dealing with microbial nanotechnology in the following fields (but not limited to):
• Bacterial synthesis of nanoparticles
• Mycosynthesis of nanoparticles
• Microbial nanotechnology for bioremediation
• Nanoparticle synthesis by rhizosphere associated microbes
• Nanobiotechnology of endophytic microbial community
• Marine microbes-mediated nanoparticle synthesis
• Genetic engineering and molecular mechanisms in microbial nanotechnology
• Microbe assisted metal recovery as nanostructures
• Therapeutic potential of nanoparticles synthesized using microbes including microbial interactions with biogenic nanoparticles. Please note that manuscripts focusing on the Clinical aspect and not on the Microbiological aspect will not be considered for peer-review.
Keywords: Nanostructures, microbial synthesis, toxicology, environmental bioremediation, therapeutic applications
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